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5 weeks after one level C5/6 ACDF-(211215)

Hi I have posted on here a few times-I had acdf 211215 in the UK-and although the first 3 weeks or so were horrific-my right arm pain did seem to settle down and the pain after the operation-ie shoulder/shoulder blade pain-pain at the back/nape of my neck-even worse when trying to sleep-had settled.Feeling a bit better meant that I pushed myself a bit and started to do more housework-extended the walking etc and last night I could not sleep again due to the pain in my right shoulder blade that stopped me from getting comfortable..I saw my consultant last week-(1801) and he cleared me to go back to work/drive etc when pain under control.I am not very tolerant of tablets so am only taking paracetamol for the pain but have agreed with my employers-who are very supportive-to start back to work next week on a phased return.I am slightly worried as once back at work I will feel like I can't be off again and that I am letting them down. I found out from my consultant that I didn't have the plate fitted just a cage-and he doesn't want to see me for 10 months when he will do a an x-ray-but just out of curiosity-he says it isn't that important that I fuse properly-perhaps it's because its just one level??

I obviously haven't done anything physically since my op until recentley and my concern is-when I do go back to work-I work in a bank-with lots of repetitive movements-sitting at a computer-some lifting (although my employers have said they will make sure I don't have to lift) that I end up in a lot of pain, as now.

I have had the problems leading up to surgery for a number of years and have read that sometimes the longer you have had pain-the longer it takes to recover-but my consultant feels I should be ready to go back! Am i being whingy?! Should I just get on with it? Will it make the pain worse-but on the other hand I might always have this pain so maybe have to learn to just cope and get on with it?!

Thoughts/advice from anyone who has had similar experience please?!




  • mrossomx2mmrossomx2 Coal center Posts: 42
    Did your shoulder pain and should blade pain settle down?  I am 3 weeks post op and if I do anything other than lay down I get unbeatable pain in both shoulders and u Der both shoulder blades?
  • Sue 1965SSue 1965 United KingdomPosts: 115
    Hi- well I tried to go back to work and was in such agony I was signed off again for 4 weeks-I am 8 weeks post op now.The pain has settled If I remain in one forward looking non moving position-but when I turn my head and then turn it back-or yawn/stretch without thinking-the pain across my shoulders and neck is every bit as bad..I find driving hard-I can turn to look left and right but sometimes get really bad pain when I look back..Also my sleep is sometimes disturbed as I am a side sleeper and find it difficult to get into a position that doesn't aggravate that same pain..I'm due back to work at the end of next week and although I don't feel like I will be any better than I was before-I have to just get on with it now-for all I know-I could be months with this-or even permanent..I didn't have anywhere near as much pain as this in this area pre-op-it was mainly my arm-which does seem to have settled-although not 100% sure as yet as I'm hardly using it at home-only time will tell.Hope you get some relief..Sue
  • joowee40joowee40 Mississippi Posts: 99
    edited 02/25/2016 - 1:31 PM
    Sue..I'm still hurting like pooky behind my shoulder blade, side of neck, along top of shoulder, and shoulder and my hand is going numb just like presurgery.....to put it bluntly, I feel like I never even had surgery!! I'm so angry right now. I told pt yesterday that either he has irritated everything or something has gotten back on that same nerve so he pulled me back off some of the aggressive stuff. I moved my appt with physical medicine dr to the 3rd so q1111he can check me again and start the emg testing and see what nerve is killing me or something. I am cleared thru the 6th from work so I definately need to see him to tell me no work yet or yes go back...ummm not ready yet for sure! 

    I want to go back to work capable and not just as I was before I left. I'm so frustrated and still hear it's still so early in recovery and it takes 6 mths to a year but you would think we would feel at least some better by 8wks! 

    I mentioned before that pt are thinking my subclavian artery is being compressed causing the arm numbness and pain and it's called thoracic outlet syndrome which it treated by working those muscles in pt and I am hideously tender in all of the areas for it but that doesn't explain why I can roll my head around and up and numbness goes away...just like before I had to do before surgery. I'm a little afraid that something like a disk fragment was missed or a spur came up and is on that nerve but pt said he doubts it. 

    Pissed that this might be forever! Feel like I went thru agony of surgery for nothing! 
  • Sue 1965SSue 1965 United KingdomPosts: 115
    Oh Julie-bless you-I do hope you get some help-and soon.I had a really bad night last night-think it was totally unrelated-but I had pain in my left breast in the day and then in the night woke up with the most excruciating pain in my left side-at the side of my breast-it was coming in waves-I could only sleep on my back again-if I tried to sleep on my right it made the pain worse-I suddenly felt very nauseous-retched a few times-went white-pins and needles in hands but thankfully the nausea didn't last-think it was just due to the intensity of the pain..considered going to hospital but didn't and thankfully seems to have calmed down now..I have got left arm and shoulder pain now though which I didn't really have much of before..I'm fed up too..one thing after another..my beack of neck/shoulder pain is still there too..Hang on in there Julie..Sue
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